Common Shaving Problems: How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs

Attractive young guy is shaving his beard

Dragging a sharp blade across your face can have consequences. Ranking high amongst these is the ingrown hair, the annoying younger brother of the pimple. While giving up shaving is the best resolution, it’s not the most practical solution for most of us. So how do you keep your countenance looking good without sacrificing the razor? We’ve got your guide to keeping ingrown hairs at bay.

What are ingrown hairs?

When you shave, your hairs become very sharp and as the tips grow out, they can curl back into the skin, piercing it and causing inflammation, bumps, and soreness. Ingrown hairs tend to be more common for those with curly hair.

How do I get rid of ingrown hairs?

Add exfoliation to your skincare routine

What skincare routine, you ask? If you don’t have one yet, now’s the time to start, because when it comes to ingrown hairs, prevention is the best defense. Exfoliate daily with a gentle scrub (like Billy Jealousy Liquidsand Exfoliating Facial Cleanser) to remove dead skin cells that clog pores and hair follicles. And once a week, opt for a strong facial polisher to really get rid of the gunk (like Billy Jealousy Assassin Deep Exfoliating Scrub). If you have sensitive skin, start slow and increase the frequency with your tolerance.

If your skin is particularly reactive, only exfoliate the night before shaving.

Before shaving

Wrap a warm towel around your face and neck and wait for your hair to soften from the hot water. Alternatively, shave right after you shower so your hair is weak (that’s a good thing when you’re shaving) and your pores are open.

During shaving

The way you shave is a big part of the razor bump equation. Use a fresh, sharp blade, since dull blades can tug on your skin and cause more friction, leading to razor burn and ingrown hairs. Also, since fresh blades offer a crisp cut, there’s no need to do several passes over the same area, which can anger your skin.

Shave in the direction your hair grows to reduce spikiness.

After shaving

Relieve freshly-shaven skin with a rich aftershave balm or serum. Zirh Soothe Post-Shave Solution contains aloe vera to moisturize irritated skin, and retinyl palmitate (a form of vitamin A) to speed up cell turnover and reduce healing time, thus preventing clogged pores and ingrown hairs.

What if I already have an ingrown hair?

First we suggest giving your skin a breather. Stop shaving for a few days and let your skin go through its regular repair processes. During this time, remember to moisturize and feel free to try a cream formulated expressly for ingrown hairs, like The Art of Shaving Ingrown Hair Night Cream, which exfoliates skin as you sleep.

If you wear a tie or a high collar, loosen them both. Stiff collars and ties can rub against your neck, causing more irritation and slowing recovery.

If after this waiting period the pesky ingrown is still there, you can take matters into your own hands.

To remove your ingrown hair at home, warm up the area with a wet towel or steam your face over a bowl of hot water. Then use a pair of tweezers to lift the hair out of the skin.

You can also consult a professional aesthetician, who has all the tools to quickly pull that thing out with minimal damage.

Ingrown-Hair

SHOP: 1. Billy Jealousy Liquidsand Exfoliating Facial Cleanser, 2. Zirh Soothe Post-Shave Solution, 3. Truefitt and Hill Ultimate Comfort Pre-Shave Oil, 4. Billy Jealousy Assassin Deep Exfoliating Scrub, 5. The Art of Shaving Ingrown Hair Night Cream.

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Common Shaving Problems: Not Using the Right Blade + Incorrect Blade Angle

Maquinilla de afeitar con borcha en fondo blanco

Why is selecting a good safety razor blade important?

Blades often get the short end of the stick. They’re inexpensive and replaceable, so it’s easy to focus instead on purchasing a nice razor handle. But your double edge safety razor handle is merely the device that holds that sharp piece of metal which ultimately makes contact with your face.

Because each man’s face is different – we all have different skin types, hair textures, and contours – a sharp blade that one wet shaver swears by may tug and pull at another man’s skin. If you participate in wet shaving forums, you’ll hear raves about brands like Feather, Crystal, and Derby, coming from men who had amazing experiences with them. But take their raves with a grain of salt until you try the blade for yourself. Think of it this way: Every brand will have people who love it and people who hate it.

If you’re just venturing into the wet shaving world and feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of blade options, our advice is to purchase a sample pack so you can find the right one for you. We sell a couple sample packs with blades from different manufacturers in each one. Once you determine which one you like, you can then invest in a larger quantity of blades.

What is the correct angle at which I should hit the skin with the blade?

If you’ve been shaving with cartridge razors up until now, realize that unlike cartridge razors, safety razors do not pivot. This means you must pay much more attention to the blade angle to avoid nicks and cuts.

Ideally, your blade’s edge should strike at almost a 90 degree angle to your stubble, nearly parallel to your skin. Try to keep the cap’s edge in contact with your skin. Take extra short strokes on areas that have more curves – your chin, neck, and jawline – so you can more easily maintain blade angle.

I’m shaving at the correct blade angle. Why am I still getting nicks?

When shaving, take into account that some razors are more aggressive than others since they expose more of the blade. If you have thick hair and/or normal skin, aggressive razors may provide you with the pefect shave. But if your skin is sensitive, you might find yourself in a bit of a (bloody) mess.

In the end, it comes down to experimentation. Try different blades in combination with different double edge razors until you get a shave that’s comfortable and enjoyable. It sounds like a lot of work compared with simply grabbing a cartridge razor, but trust us, once you master the art of safety razor shaving, the closeness of the shave is incomparable.

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Open Comb Razors vs. Closed Comb Razors

Open-vs-closed-comb-razors

(Left to Right: Fatip Retro Chrome Safety Razor, Right, Muhle R89 Twist 2 Piece Closed Comb Safety Razor)

A common question we get asked is whether one should use a closed comb razor or an open comb razor. Here’s our take:

Each razor is tailored to a specific purpose. On the closed comb razor (like the Muhle R89), much of the blade is covered by the razor head edge. This produces a less aggressive shave, but it also means that if you’re just beginning your wet shaving journey, the learning curve is not as steep. In other words, you’re less likely to cut yourself. We also recommend the closed comb razor if you have finer hair or want a touch up.

The open comb razor (like the Fatip Retro Chrome Safety Razor) is excellent for shaving thick or coarse hair because its ridges expose more of the blade. The blade gets closer to your skin even without much pressure. Because you can get a closer shave with fewer strokes, you minimize your chances of irritation, redness, and razor burn.

The verdict?

The type of safety razor you choose depends on personal preference, hair thickness, patience, and shaving style.

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